Farmers across Britain have been battered by a wintry blast with forecasters warning of further disruption over the coming days.
The Met Office has issued weather warnings of snow, ice, strong winds and rain for most parts of the country.
An icy blast of snow and ice gripped central and southern regions of Scotland on Wednesday (14 January).
Heavy snow fell on hill farms across the central belt of Scotland, with up to 10cm (4in) of snow in Fife, Perth and Kinross on the highest ground.
Snow also fell on farmland in Wales, parts of Oxfordshire, Teeside, the North West, the Midlands, Mendips and Cotswolds and Northern Ireland.
Cumbrian shepherdess Alison O’Neill shared this spectacular picture (below) on her Twitter account (@woolismybread) of snowstorms shrouding the barren landscape of Shacklabank Farm on the Howgill Fells, in Sedbergh.
Mrs O’Neill said: “I snapped the picture of Galloy, who is 15 and the only cross-bred sheep on farm, as she wandered over to get some hay from the barn.
“She was stood on top of this muck heap and it really captured what farming is like.”
Heavy rain and severe gales were forecast for southern and western regions on Wednesday evening.
The Met Office said heavy rain would clear from the South East on Thursday (15 January) and the weather would turn bright with wintry showers, while remaining very windy.
From Friday to Sunday, there is a risk of persistent rain or snow for the South, with wintry showers heavy and most frequent in the north and east.
Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said: “After a mild winter so far, we are in for a prolonged spell of cold weather.
“However, temperatures will be near or below average for the time of year. There will be some showers around, likely falling as snow on higher ground.”
Rural insurer NFU Mutual activated its emergency claims plan after gusts of up to 65mph inland.
“When extreme weather strikes our first priority is to get immediate help to people whose families and animals have been put at risk,” said Tim Price, NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist.
“Our local claims teams and 300 local offices are on standby to provide immediate help to customers – including making emergency payments.
“While a storm’s intensity and path is hard to forecast, the current Met Office forecast does warrant concern and we recommend homeowners take simple precautions – keeping a torch handy and mobiles charged in case of power cuts and avoiding going out in high winds.”
Last weekend’s storms centred on Scotland led to more than 400 claims for property damage with an estimated total cost of over £750,000 being reported to NFU Mutual.
It is expected these figures will increase as more claims are reported and the actual costs become better known.
More than half the claims were on the Isle of Lewis, with Skye also badly hit. Most claims were for damage to roofs of rural homes and farm buildings.